Release Date: October 8, 2010


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92/190 Max Braden I liked Seabiscuit more, but the final race for Secretariat - even just repeating history - is just unreal.

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Thea book about a Champion horse was adapted to the big screen, the result was Seabiscuit. The movie, which ended up with seven Oscar nominations but no wins, was a financial and critical success for Universal. Its domestic take ($120.3 million) erased its production budget ($86 million) before overseas grosses were factored in. And according to Rotten Tomatoes, 77% of the nation’s critics gave the movie a thumbs up.

Now, we have another horse racing film in Secretariat, based largely on William Nack’s book, Secretariat: The Making of a Champion. For people who don’t know their Dr. Fagers from their War Admirals, Secretariat won the U.S. Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in 1973, breaking a 25-year drought in horses who achieved the most prestigious prize in American horseracing since Citation in 1948. Two horses have realized the feat since, with the last being Affirmed in 1978.

What makes Secretariat’s story that much more miraculous (and ripe for a Hollywood retelling) is that the horse was guided through the Triple Crown season while residing in a stable that found itself in financial trouble after the stable’s founder, Christopher Chenery, was hospitalized in 1968. Soon after, Chenery’s daughter, Penny, took over management of the farm and guided colt Riva Ridge to victory in two Triple Crown races in 1972. A year later, Secretariat won the race that Riva Ridge could not – the Preakness Stakes – in addition to wins at the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, thereby cementing his fate as just the ninth horse at the time to achieve the Triple Crown.

Distributed by Disney, Secretariat’s cast includes Diane Lane as Penny; Scott Glenn as her father, Christopher; John Malkovich as Secretariat’s trainer, Lucien Laurin and James Cromwell in a supporting role. Kevin Connolly, best known for his lead role on HBO’s Entourage, plays the author of Secretariat: The Making of a Champion. The book was released two years after Secretariat’s Triple Crown victory. (Eric Hughes/BOP)

Vital statistics for Secretariat
Main Cast Diane Lane
Supporting Cast John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, Scott Glenn, Dylan Baker, Margo Martindale, Nelsan Ellis, Otto Thorwarth, Fred Thompson, AJ Michalka, Kevin Connolly, Eric Lange, James Cromwell
Director Randall Wallace
Screenwriter Mike Rich
Distributor Walt Disney Pictures
Rating PG
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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